Shamus Award

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The Shamus Award is awarded by the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) for the best detective fiction genre novels and short stories of the year.


The Prize is given annually to recognize outstanding achievement in private eye fiction. Starting in 2003, the Shamus Awards are sometimes (2003, 2007–2009, 2011–2016) announced during the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, at the convention's PWA Awards Banquet. [1]


TitleAwarded since
Best P. I. Hardcover Novel1982
Best First P. I. Novel1985
Best P. I. Paperback Original1982
THE EYE – Lifetime Achievement Award1982
Best P. I. Short Story1983
St. Martins' Press/
PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest
Friends of PWA2002
Best P. I. Series/Characters – The Hammer2007
Best Indie P.I. Novel2013



Best P. I. Hardcover Novel

1982 Bill Pronzini Hoodwink
St. Martin’s Press, New York 1981
1983 Lawrence Block Eight Million Ways to Die
Arbor House, New York 1982
1984 Max Allan Collins True Detective
St. Martin’s Press, New York 1983
1985 Loren D. Estleman Sugartown
Hougthon Mifflin, Boston1984
1986 Sue Grafton "B" Is for Burglar
Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York 1986
1987Jeremiah HealyThe Staked Goat
Harper & Row, New York 1986
1988Benjamin SchutzA Tax in Blood
Tom Doherty, New York 1987
1989 John Lutz Kiss
Henry Holt, New York 1988
1990 Jonathan Valin Extenuating Circumstances
Delacorte Press, New York 1989
1991 Sue Grafton "G" Is for Gumshoe
Henry Holt, New York 1990
1992 Max Allan Collins Stolen Away
Bantam Books, New York 1991
1993Harold AdamsThe Man Who was Taller Than God
Walker & Co., New York 1992
1994 Lawrence Block The Devil Knows You're Dead
William Morrow, New York 1993
1995 Sue Grafton "K" Is for Killer
Henry Holt, New York 1994
1996 S. J. Rozan Concourse
St. Martin’s Press, New York 1995
1997 Robert Crais Sunset Express
Hyperion, New York 1996
1998 Terence Faherty Come Back Dead
Simon & Schuster, New York 1997
1999 Bill Pronzini Boobytrap
Carroll & Graf, New York 1998
2000 Don Winslow California Fire and Life
Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1999
2001 Carolina Garcia-Aguilera Havana Heat
William Morrow, New York 2000
2002 S. J. Rozan Reflecting the Sky
St. Martin’s Minotaur, New York 2001
2003 James W. Hall Blackwater Sound
St. Martin’s Press, New York 2002
2004 Ken Bruen The Guards
Brandon, Dingle Co. Kerry /Ireland 2001
2005Ed WrightWhile I Disappear
Putnam’s, New York 2004
2006 Michael Connelly The Lincoln Lawyer
Little, Brown, Boston 2005
2007 Ken Bruen The Dramatist
Brandon, Dingle Co. Kerry/Ireland 2004
2008 Reed Farrel Coleman Soul Patch
Bleak House Books, Madison/WI 2007
2009 Reed Farrel Coleman Empty Ever After
Bleak House Books, Madison/WI 2008
2010 Marcia Muller Locked In
2011Lori ArmstrongNo Mercy
2012 Michael Wiley A Bad Night's Sleep
2013 Robert Crais Taken
2014 Brad Parks The Good Cop
2015 David Rosenfelt Hounded
St. Martin’s Minotaur, New York 2014
2016Ingrid ThoftBrutality
2017 Reed Farrel Coleman Where It Hurts
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2016
2018 T. Jefferson Parker The Room of White Fire
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2016
2019 Kristen Lepionka What You Want to See

Minotaur Books, 2018

2020Matt CoyleLost Tomorrows

Oceanview Publishing, 2019

2021Matt CoyleBlind Vigil

Oceanview Publishing, 2019


Best First P. I. Novel

1985 Jack Early A Creative Kind of Killer
Watts Publishing, New York 1984
1986Wayne WargaHardcover
Arbor House, New York 1985
1987J. W. RiderJersey Tomatoes
Arbor House, New York 1986
1988Michael AllegrettoDeath on the Rocks
Scribner’s, New York 1987
1989 Gar Anthony Haywood Fear of the Dark
St. Martin’s Press, New York 1988
1990 Karen Kijewski Katwalk
St. Martin’s Press, New York 1989
1991 Walter Mosley Devil in a Blue Dress
W.W. Norton, New York 1990
1992Thomas DavisSuffer Little Children
Walker & Co., New York 1991
1993 John Straley The Woman Who Married a Bear
Soho Press, New York 1992
1994Lynn HightowerSatan's Lambs
Walker & Co., New York 1993
1995 Dennis Lehane A Drink Before the War
Harcourt Brace, New York 1994
1996Richard BarreThe Innocents
Walker & Co., New York 1995
1997Carol Lea BenjaminThis Dog for Hire
Walker & Co., New York 1996
1998 Rick Riordan Big Red Tequila
Bantam Books, New York 1997
1999 Steve Hamilton A Cold Day in Paradise
St. Martin’s Press, New York 1998
2000 John Connolly Every Dead Thing
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1999
2001Bob TruluckStreet Level
Thomas Dunne Books, New York 2000
2002 David Fulmer Chasing the Devil's Tail
Poisoned Pen Press, Scottsdale/Arizona 2001
2003 Eddie Muller The Distance
Scribner’s, New York 2002
2004 Peter Spiegelman Black Maps
Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2003
2005 Ingrid Black The Dead
Headline, London 2003
2006Louise UreForcing Amaryllis
Mysterious Press, New York 2005
2007 Declan Hughes The Wrong Kind of Blood
William Morrow, New York 2006
2008Sean ChercoverBig City, Bad Blood
William Morow, New York 2007
2009Ian VasquezIn the Heat
St. Martin's Minotaur, New York 2008
2010 Brad Parks Faces of the Gone
2011Michael AyoobIn Search of Mercy
St. Martin's Minotaur, New York 2010
2012P.G. SturgesThe Shortcut Man
Scribner’s, New York 2011
2013Michael SearsBlack Fridays
Putnam, New York 2012
2014Lachlan SmithBear is Broken
Mysterious Press, New York 2013
2015Julia DahlInvisible City
St. Martin's Minotaur, New York 2014
2016Lisa SandlinThe Do-Right
Cinco Puntos Press, El Paso 2015
2017 Joe Ide IQ
Mulholland Books, 2017
2018Kristen LepionkaThe Last Place You Look
Minotaur Books, 2017
2019Katrina CarrascoThe Best Bad Things

MCD Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2018

2021Kwei QuarteyThe Missing American

Soho Crime, 2020

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Best P. I. Paperback Original

1982Max ByrdCalifornia Thriller
Bantam Books, New York 1981
1983 William Campbell Gault The Cana Diversion
Worldwide, New York/ Toronto 1982
1984Paul EnglemanDead in Centerfield
Ballantine Books, New York 1983
1985 Warren Murphy Ceiling of Hell
Fawcett Crest, New York 1984
1986 Earl Emerson Poverty Bay
Avon Books, New York 1985
1987Rob KantnerThe Back Door Man
Bantam Books, New York 1986
1988L.J. WashburnWild Night
Tom Doherty, New York 1987
1989Rob KantnerDirty Work
Bantam Books, New York 1988
1990Rob KantnerHell's Only Half Full
Bantam Books, New York 1989
1991W. Glenn DuncanRafferty: Fatal Sisters
Fawcett Books, Greenwich/CT. 1990
1992 Paul Kemprecos Cool Blue Tomb
Batam Books, New York 1991
1993 Marele Day The Last Tango of Dolores Delgado
Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards/Australia 1992
1994 Rodman Philbrick Brothers and Sinners
Penguin Books CND, Toronto 1993
1995Ed GoldbergServed Cold
West Coast Crime, Portland/Oregon 1994
1996William JaspersohnNative Angels
Bantam Books, New York 1995
1997 Harlan Coben Fade Away
Dell, New York 1996
1998 Laura Lippman Charm City
Avon Books, New York 1997
1999Steven WomackMurder Manual
Ballantine Books, New York 1998
2000 Laura Lippman In Big Trouble
Avon Books, New York 1999
2001Thomas LipinskiDeath in the Steel City
Avon Twilight, New York 2000
2002 Lyda Morehouse Archangel Protocol
New American Library, New York 2001
2003D. Daniel JudsonThe Poisoned Rose
Bantam Books, New York 2002
2004 Andy Straka Cold Quarry
Signet, New York 2003
2005Max PhillipsFade to Blonde
Dorchester Publishing, New York 2004
2006 Reed Farrel Coleman The James Deans
Plume, New York 2005
2007 P. J. Parrish An Unquiet Grave
Kensington Books, New York 2006
2008 Richard Aleas Songs of Innocence
Hard Case Crime, New York 2007
2009Lori G. ArmstrongSnow Blind
Medallion Press, St Charles/IL 2008
2010 Ira Berkowitz Sinner's Ball
Three Rivers Press, New York 2009
2011 Christopher G. Moore Asia Hand
Grove/Atlantic Inc., New York 2010
2012 Duane Swierczynski Fun & Games
Mulholland Books, London 2011
2013Alison GaylinAnd She Was
Harper, New York 2012
2014 P.J. Parrish Heart of Ice
Pocket Books, New York 2013
2015Vincent ZandriMoonlight Weeps
Down & Out Books, Tampa 2014
2016J.L. AbramoCircling the Runway
Down & Out Books, Tampa 2015
2017 Vaseem Khan The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown
2018Rich ZahradnikLights Out Summer
Camel Press, 2019
2019Max WirestoneThe Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss

Redhook Books, 2018

2020James D.F. HannahBehind the Wallof Sleep

James D.F. Hannah, 2019

2021Richard HelmsBrittle Karma

Barbados Hall Communications, 2020

THE EYE – Lifetime Achievement Award

(Not awarded in 1989, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2012 and 2014)

1982 Ross Macdonald
1983 Mickey Spillane
1984 William Campbell Gault
1985 Howard Browne
1986 Richard S. Prather
1987 Bill Pronzini
1988 Dennis Lynds and
Wade Miller
1991 Roy Huggins
1992 Joseph Hansen
1993 Marcia Muller
1994 Stephen J. Cannell
1995 John Lutz and
Robert B. Parker
1997 Stephen Marlowe
1999Maxine O'Callaghan
2000 Edward D. Hoch
2002 Lawrence Block
2003 Sue Grafton
2004 Donald Westlake
2005 Sara Paretsky
2006 Max Allan Collins
2007 Stuart M. Kaminsky
2008 Joe Gores
2009 Robert J. Randisi
2010 Robert Crais
2011 Ed Gorman
2013 Loren D. Estleman
2015 Parnell Hall
2016 S.J. Rozan
2017Jerry Kennealy


Best P. I. Series Character – The Hammer

2007 Shell Scott Richard S. Prather
2008 The Nameless Detective Bill Pronzini
2009 Matt Scudder Lawrence Block
2010Sharon McCone Marcia Muller
2011 V.I. Warshawski Sara Paretsky
2012Nate Heller Max Allan Collins
2014 Kinsey Millhone Sue Grafton


Best Indie P.I. Novel

2013 Paul D. Marks White Heat
2014M. Ruth MyersDon't Dare a Dame
2015 Trace Conger The Shadow Broker


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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "The Private Eye Writers of America and The Shamus Awards". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  2. 1 2 "The Private Eye Writers of America". Retrieved 29 December 2017.